It's always a pleasant surprise when you head down to the fishin' hole hoping to reel in some dinner -- maybe a couple 18-inchers -- and come back with a new state record.
That's what happened to Samantha, Ala., resident John Nichols, who reeled in a 120-pound blue catfish last month at Holt Reservoir, setting a new Alabama blue cat record.
Nichols, along with friend Robbie Tierce, landed the monster cat and had it weighed on a certified scale Tuscaloosa Scale Co. Inc. with five witnesses present. The catch was later certified by District Fisheries Biologist Jay Haffner.
Nichols' fish shattered the previous state record, a 111-pounder caught by Elkmont, Ala., resident William P. McKinley on July 5, 1996, at Wheeler Reservoir.
According to the International Game Fish Association, the world record blue catfish was a 143-pounder caught by Richard Nicholas Anderson on June 18, 2011, at Kerr Lake, Va.